HolidayBuyer's Guide

Don't use laundry detergent on hand-wash items if you want them to last

Think using regular detergent is fine? Think again.

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Photo by GraphicStock

Laundry detergent works for all clothes, right? Nope. Before you wash those hand-wash-only items with regular laundry detergent, stop yourself. Enzymes in laundry detergent can slowly break down fibers in delicate fabrics like wool and silk. Using a gentle soap designed for hand-wash-only items is the best way to get them clean with the least damage.

Hand-washing the right way

Here are some step-by-step tips for getting your hand-washed clothing as clean as possible without using harsh detergents:

  1. Pretreat stains with a quality pretreater.
  2. Add your hand washing detergent to a sink full of warm water (check garment's label for water temperature and adjust accordingly).
  3. Let the detergent dissolve.
  4. Close all of the buttons, zippers or snaps on the item.
  5. Dip the item into the water and knead it gently.
  6. Let the item soak for 15 minutes.
  7. Rinse with cool water (or temperature suggested on garment's tag).
  8. Gently squeeze the item to remove the water. Don't twist or wring the item.
  9. Lay the garment on a towel, roll the towel and gently press down on the length of the roll to remove extra moisture.
  10. Let the item air-dry on a drying rack.
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